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Is Sustainable Packaging Right for My Distillery?

10/17/2019 • Shawn Patrick

Sustainability is being embraced by companies around the world. It makes sense since a clean environment is good for us all. No one wants to see a repeat of the Cuyahoga River Fire. The only way to ensure things like that never happen again is for companies to act in environmentally conscious ways. 

Some of sustainability measures include electric cars, facilities that run on solar or wind, and efforts to recycle old products. Product packaging is where many consumer-based companies first put their sustainability efforts. 

What is Sustainable Packaging 

Sustainable packaging is when a product’s packaging is made from environmentally friendly materials that leave a smaller carbon footprint. This is accomplished in many ways, such as using lighter materials, recycled and recyclable materials, or ethically harvested materials. 

Some companies have been less than ethical when they tout their environmental record. They use a practice known as greenwashing.  Greenwashing is when a product or company does something to make themselves or their product seem more environmentally friendly than it is. 

One good example is a box that says, made from recyclable material. Since most materials can be recycled in some way, this is technically true. But that doesn't mean it is good for the planet. 

Is Sustainable Packaging Right for My Distillery? 

The short answer is yes. In general, the people who don't care if a package is made from sustainable materials also won't care if it is. Conversely, the people who do care about the sustainability of a product's packaging may pass on a product without it. 

Sustainable materials can sometimes be the cheaper alternative, or at least competitive. However, the subject of sustainability goes deeper than that. 

In 2018, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink spoke on corporate environmental responsibility and sustainability, saying, “society is increasingly turning to the private sector.”  His reasoning for this is the growing number of people who don't believe that the world governments are doing enough to confront what they see as the climate crisis. 

A growing number of people seek out environmentally-friendly businesses. An easy way to appeal to this desire is through sustainable packaging. It's something that the customer immediately sees. 

Using solar and recycling at your distillery is something environmentally conscious customers would appreciate but getting them informed on those initiatives isn't easy. Seeing sustainable packaging on the shelf makes an immediate impact on the consumer’s mind. The more environmentally conscious they are, the bigger factor sustainable packaging will play in their purchase decision. 

The Emotions of Sustainable Packaging 

Many individuals are becoming more and more worried about the environment. Fear is a strong emotion rooted in a feeling of not being in control. This is one reason people gravitate toward sustainable packaging. If they can put their dollars towards a company that's making environmentally friendly moves, it gives them a small sense of power and a sensibility that they are helping the fight to make the world better.

That emotional component of sustainable packaging is what consumers want. They need to feel good about their purchase. They're looking for a positive connection between themselves, your distillery, and the overall impact on the environment.

Sustainability has created one inescapable fact: packaging has become a statement of company beliefs. What does yours have to say? The answer reflects not only on the quality of your spirits but also the soul of your company.